Curse2

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It was hard to decide how exactly to kick off this blog.

Do I dive in with a super post of 500 Writer Tips You’ve Never Ever Seen Before (But Maybe You Have)?  Do I create a video so you can see I’m a real human and connect with me on day one?  Or do I write an all encompassing post that sets the tone for the blog so you can decide if it’s your cup of tea or not?

Ultimately what I decided is it doesn’t matter.  Taking the leap and actually publishing this post should say it all.

I have been living under the “writer’s curse” umbrella for a long time.  I assume every writer starts off this way, but to move from hopeless dreamer to actual writer requires that we step out into the rain.  So this is me allowing my hair to curl, my make-up to run and my clothes to cling as I venture into the downpour.

Self-Doubt Sucks

I have an inescapable desire to be a writer.  It has been a part of me since I was little and has clung to my brain (and heart) relentlessly every day following.  While most people dream of being rich I only dreamt of being read.

But I was scared crapless to admit it.  I didn’t even want to tell people I wanted to be a writer, let alone expose them to something I had written.

I was a Creative Writing major for two and a half years.  I had a curriculum based only on becoming a writer and I still felt frozen.

A particularly inspiring writing professor, on day one, asked the class “Who in here wants to be a published author?”  It was an advanced creative writing course; we should have all had our hands shot up in the air.

And yet, half the class – myself included – kept their hands and heads down.

Why did we do that?  Why did I do that?  All I have ever wanted was to see my books on a shelf and I couldn’t even admit to a class of twenty-five aspiring writers that I wanted to be a published author.

As I sat there, feeling like an idiot, the real pang of self-doubt rushed over me.  The first symptom of the curse.  I was so certain my dream was unattainable that I wouldn’t even acknowledge it.  It was so fragile I thought it would fall apart if I even spoke about.

So much more could have been gained from my classes had I simply embraced my desire.  Instead, I switched my major to broadcast journalism and left my dream in the dark.  I could hear it all the time, beckoning, begging for me to come back, but I pretended I couldn’t hear it.

The doubt had won. I willingly let it justify abandoning my passion.

Stubbornness with Style

Despite my attempt to bury my dream, it continued to creep up on me.  I knew what I wanted and my subconscious was forcing it through my stubbornness and self doubt.  Despite my broadcast degree requirements, I refused to seek internships with news stations. I spent more time writing the script to my videos than I did filming them.  I took on a job with a book publicist even though I had zero PR experience.

I wanted to be a writer, but I had become obstinate about that desire.

I had certainly upgraded from doubting my ability, but I was still completely unwilling to embrace the truth about myself.  An internship with a literary review magazine was just for the credits.  My dive into book publicity was just for resume building.  My constant skimming of Craigslist writing jobs was just for fun.

If my love for writing were a relationship I would have been dumped a long time ago.  I neglected it.  I devalued it.  I pushed it away when all I wanted was to hold it closer.  I sucked at loving writing.

Like all failures in love, sometimes it just takes some growing up before your heart is ready.  I’m not there yet, but I’m definitely ready to start playing the field properly.

Struggle with Solitude

I feel like I’m moving passed denial and into acceptance.  I feel more confident about my writing.  I feel ready to lay my heart on the line.  I’ve opened up about what it is I really want.  But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t still struggling with one major part of being a writer.

Solitude.

The crawl into a corner, huddle up with your computer and shut everyone out skill has yet to come into play.

I’m not stupid.  I know I’m not going to get a thing done watching Will Ferrel movies or redecorating my bathroom or going to the lake.  But I will sit there thinking about writing and not commit myself to the task.

It’s irritating and all-consuming and I can’t seem to fight it off.  I keep telling myself “I can’t sit down and write until I have a new computer.”  And “I won’t be able to focus until I have an office so feng shui that the only thing I can do is write masterpieces in it.” Also “What if this is the last time Anchor Man is on TV, I can’t miss that.”

All ridiculous excuses.  All completely capable of being defeated.  But these are the things that plague me and I’m betting some of them – if not all of them – infect your writing as well.

Ultimately I’ve realized though, that the biggest issue is with closing myself off.  I’m afraid my boyfriend will feel ignored.  I’m afraid that I’ll dedicate three hours to writing and achieve nothing.  I’m afraid I’ll miss out on something vitally important and life-changing.

Here it is though: we either overcome the walls holding us back, or we give up on being a writer right here, right now.  I’m not willing to do that and if you feel how I feel about writing, I’m sure you’re unwilling to do that too.

This is where we start.  This is where we commit.

There is no use daydreaming forever if we aren’t going to one day shut up and write.  Could I have tried to write a book first then work on building a blog and a platform for that book?  Yes.  (And no, but we’ll get to that later).  The truth is though, I started this blog so I’d be accountable for feeding my passion.

I need someone saying to me “So, you get any writing done today?”  That someone – I’m hoping – is you.  What I offer for this huge favor you’d be doing for me is to do the same in return for you.

Sometimes to lose weight we need to hire a personal trainer.  Sometimes to get through school we need our parents bitching about our futures.  To get through writing, or at least get into it, we need support and motivation from people who understand how truly difficult it can be to do something you love.

Be a part of the journey with me.  I promise to be completely honest.  If I get 50 rejection letters, you can read them.  If I find a successful way to promote an eBook, I’ll tell you.  If I feel completely defeated and am I the verge of quitting, you’ll be the first to hear about it.

Writing doesn’t have to be full of solitude, self-doubt and stubbornness.  We don’t have to fall victim to the “writer’s curse”.  Let’s just decide to say “screw it” this is what we want and this is what we’re going to do.  No one will hate you for it.  The only person you have to worry about disappointing is yourself.  Passion doesn’t drop out of thin air, ride those emotions with me and let’s do this thing!

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  • Lily

    I’m 15 years old and working on writing a book right now. I know it is unlikely it will every actually be published but it is a dream of mine to get a book published at some point during my lifetime.
    I too, suck at loving writing. I think lame excuses. I have a book to read, it’s a school break, what if my whole family plays clue while I’m writing? Like you said, I didn’t want to miss any of that.
    Holding myself accountable is really what I need I guess. There are two people in the world besides myself who even know that I enjoy writing. One of them doesn’t get the joy in it. The other is a writer herself who doesn’t get why I feel unmotivated to write.
    Thank you, this is making me see I’m still meant to write and I’m not the only one who doesn’t love it. Thank you.

    • Hi Lily,

      So glad I could help. It is a complicated feeling that I haven’t even begun to understand fully. The best thing I’ve found is that you just can’t let others dictate how you feel about your writing. Whether you have a friend who “doesn’t get it” or one who seems to outshine you (I have plenty of both) all that matters is that you feel happy about what you’re doing and what you’re accomplishing. Good luck and thanks for stopping by!

  • Erica

    Everything you wrote is exactly how I feel, nothing was left out. You’ve motivated me to put fire to the passion I have for writing. I’ve wanted to be a writer since as long as I can remember but my own doubt and lack of confidence has kept that passion in the shadows. I have such a strong guilt for turning my back on my dream in favor of things that don’t satisfy me. I can’t describe the feeling you’ve given me knowing someone feels exactly the way I do, and the way you put it into words is so eloquent. So thank you my friend from one writer to the next.